Para athlete Herath has a score to settle | Sunday Observer

Para athlete Herath has a score to settle

Dinesh Priyantha Herath
Dinesh Priyantha Herath

Sri Lanka’s Paralympic bronze medallist Dinesh Priyantha Herath who won the Silver in the T-46 javelin event at the recently concluded World Para Athletic Championships in Dubai said his ambition now is to win the Gold at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Herath, the 33-year-old Para athlete finished second with 60.59m at the T-46 javelin event to win the Silver making it the second time he was placed second following his feat in 2017 in London. Sri Lanka’s only two Para athletes Pradeep Sanjaya, 400m bronze in London in 2012 and Herath T-46 javelin silver in Rio in 2016, have won the medals medals and are the two stand-out sportsmen in the field.

If Herath wins gold at the next Tokyo Paralympics it will mark the first gold in the history of Sri Lanka sports.

Hearth narrowly missed the Gold medal at this meet as he took the lead from among 13 competitors with his first attempt by throwing a distance of 60.59m. However, Indian athlete Sundar Singh surpassed Herath’s attempt in his final throw achieving a distance of 61.22m to take the Gold.

“It is a disappointment not to lose the Gold medal, but my hope is to win it in Tokyo. I am confident that I could do it,” said Herath who is the Asian record holder of this event.

“I was leading till the last moment but Sundar Singh’s last attempt pushed me behind him. I was carrying an injury during the last few months but my determination gave me the courage to take part in the Championship. I failed to do the second and third attempts as the injury troubled me,” recalled Herath.

Herath sustained the injury during the National Championship held in October this year.

Herath served in the army as a Corporal in the third Gajaba regiment and was wounded in Kilinochchi during the final stages of the civil war against the LTTE in December 2008 and retired on medical grounds.

Taking to para sports, Herath put behind his disability and trained with more determination while his coach Pradeep Hishantha guided him with the basic techniques and encouraged him to reach greater heights.

The National Paralympic Committee (NPC) headed by Major General Rajitha Ammpemohotti was also very supportive of Herath.